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Chapter 11

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PSYC 215
Donald Taylor

PSYC215 Chapter 11 Notes Definitions: Proximity: Geographical nearness. Proximity (more precisely, “functional distance”) powerfully predicts liking. Mere-exposure Effect: The tendency for novel stimuli to be liked more or rated more positively after the rater has been repeatedly exposed to them. Matching Phenomenon: The tendency for men and women to choose as partners those who are a “good match” in attractiveness and other traits. Physical-attractiveness Stereotypes: The presumption that physically attractive people possess other socially desirable traits as well: What is beautiful is good. Complementarity: The popularly supposed tendency, in a relationship between two people, for each to complete what is missing in the other. Ingratiation: The use of strategies, such as flattery, by which people seek to gain another’s favour. Reward Theory of Attraction: The theory that we like those whose behaviour is rewarding to us or whom we associate with rewarding events. Passionate Love: A state of intense longing for union with another. Passionate lovers are absorbed in one another, feel ecstatic at attaining their partner’s love, and are disconsolate on losing it. Two-factor Theory of Emotion: arousal x its label = emotion Companion Love: The affection we feel for those with whom our lives are deeply intertwined. Secure Attachment: Attachments rooted in trust and marked by intimacy. Preoccupied Attachment: Attachments marked by a sense of one’s own unworthiness and anxiety, ambivalence, and possessiveness. Dismissive Attachment: An avoidant relationship style marked by distrust of others. Fearful Attachment: An avoidant relationship style marked by a fear of rejection. Equity: A condition in which the outcomes people receive from a relationship are proportional to what they contribute to it. Note: Equitable outcomes needn’t always be equal outcomes. Self-disclosure: Revealing intimate aspects of oneself to others. Disclosure Reciprocity: The tendency for one person’s intimacy of self-disclosure to match that of a conversational partner. Chapter Notes:  One of the most powerful predictors of whether any two people are friends is sheer proximity. Proximity can also breed hostility.  Interaction is based on “functional distance”, how often people’s paths cross.  Interaction allows people to explore their similarities, to sense one another’s liking, and to perceive themselves as a social unit.  Romantic love is often rather like ducklings’ imprinting, in which ducklings bond to whoever is near. With repeated exposure to someone, our infatuation may fix on almost anyone who has roughly similar characteristics and who reciprocates our affection.  One factor of why proximity breeds liking is availability.  Merely anticipating interaction boosts liking; likewise with expecting to date someone.  Anticipatory liking-expecting that someone will be pleasant and compatible-increases the chance of a rewarding relationship.  More than 200 experiments reveal that, contrary to an old proverb, familiarity does not breed contempt. Rather, it fosters fondness. This is mere-exposure effect.  Even exposure without awareness leads to liking. In fact, mere exposure has an even stronger effect when people perceive stimuli without awareness.  Zajonc argues that emotions are often more instantaneous, more primitive, than thinking.  The mere-exposure effect has “enormous adaptive significance”. It is a “hard-wired” phenomenon that predisposes our attractions and attachments, and that helped our ancestors categorize things and people as either familiar and safe, or unfamiliar and possibly dangerous.  The mere exposure effect has a negative side: it is our wariness of the unfamiliar-which may explain the automatic, unconscious prejudice people often feel when confronting those who are different. Fearful or prejudicial feelings are not always expressions of stereotyped beliefs; sometimes the beliefs arise later as justifications for intuitive feelings.  Basically, physical attraction is apparent in both men and women. The end of the story is that we are able to judge the amount of dates and people we want to see again by their partners’ attractiveness.  Several studies have found a strong correspondence between the attractiveness of husbands and wives, of dating partners, and even of those within particular frats. People tend to select as friends and especially to marry those who are a “good match” not only to their level of intelligence but also to their level of attractiveness.  When choosing whom to approach, people usually approach someone who attractiveness roughly matches (or not too greatly exceeds) their own.  Added together, the findings define a physical-attractiveness stereotype: What is beautiful is good.  Attractiveness probably most affects first impressions and are becoming more so as societies become increasingly mobile and urbanized and as contacts with people become more fleeting.  The speed with which first impressions form and their influence on thinking helps explain why pretty prospers. Even a brief exposure (too brief to discern a face) is enough to enable people to guess a face’s attractiveness. Moreover, when categorizing subsequent words as either good or bad, an attractive face predisposes people to categorize good words faster. Pretty is perceived promptly and primes positive processing.  Physically attractive individuals tend also to be more popular, more outgoing, and more ender- typed-more traditionally masculine if male, more feminine if female.  Attractive people are valued and favoured, and so may develop more social self-confidence. By that analysis, what’s crucial to your social skill Is not how you look, but how people treat you and how you feel about yourself-whether you accept yourself, like yourself, feel comfortable with yourself.  For cultures with scarce resources and for poor or hungry people, plumpness seems attractive; for cultures and individuals with abundant resources, beauty more often equals slimness.  To be really attractive is, ironically, to be perfectly average.  People find composite faces more beautiful than real faces. Potentially, computer averaged faces tend to be perfectly symmetrical, another characteristic of attractive people.  Psychologists working form the evolutionary perspective explain the human preference for attractive partners in terms of reproductive strategy. They assume that beauty signals biologically important information: health, youth, and fertility.  Men everywhere have felt most attracted to women whose waists are 30 percent narrower than their hips-a shape associated with peak sexual fertility.  Laboratory confirms this “contrast effect.” To men who have recently been gazing at centrefolds, average women or even their own wives seem less attractive. Viewing pornographic material simulating passionate sex similarly decreases satisfaction with one’s own partner.  Sometimes an average-looking adolescent becomes a quite attractive middle-aged adult. Second, not only do we perceive attractive people as likeable, we also perceive likeable people as attractive.  Love sees loveliness: the more in love a person is to their partner, the more physically attractive they find the other. And the more in love people are, the less attractive they find all others.  The greater the similarity between husband and wife, the happier they are and the less likely they are to divorce.  Based on experiments, the more similar someone’s attitudes are to your own, the more likeable you will find the person. Likeness produces liking not only for university and college students but also for children and the elderly, for people of various cultures and occupations. When others think as we do, we not only appreciate their attitudes but also make positive inferences about their character.  We have a bias, the false consensus bias, toward assuming that others share our attitudes. When we discover that someone does not, we may dislike the person. If those dissimilar attitudes pertain to our strong moral convictions, we dislike and distance ourselves from them all the more.  In general, dissimilar attitudes depress liking more than similar attitudes enhance it. Within their own groups, where they expect similarity, people find it especially hard to like someone with dissimilar views.  “Attitude alignment” helps promote and sustain close relationships, a phenomenon that can lead partners to overestimate their attitude similarities.  In fact, except for intimate relationships such as dating, the perception of like minds seems more important for attraction than like skins.  “Cultural racism” persists because cultural differences are a fact of life. Black culture tends to be present-oriented, spontaneously expressive, spiritual, and emotionally driven. White culture tends to be more future-oriented, materialistic, and achievement-driven.  The answer to “do opposites attract” is that similarity still prevails. Smart birds flock together.  To the contrary of opposites attract, it is actually non-depressed people who most prefer the company of happy people. The contrast effect makes people devalue the opposite trait when they are in a mood.  Some complementarity may evolve as a relationship progresses, yet people seem slightly more prone to like and to marry those who’s needs and personalities are similar.  One person’s liking does predict the other’s liking in return. Liking is usually mutual. Discovering that an appealing someone really likes you seems to awaken romantic feelings.  People like compliments and are sensitive event to the slightest hint of criticism.  Whether we are judging ourselves or others, negative information carries more weight because, being less usual, it grabs more attention.  If praise clearly violates what we know is true, we may lose respect for the flatterer and wonder whether the compliment springs from ulterior motives. Thus we often perceive criticism to be more sincere than praise.  Our reaction to flattery depends on our attributions. If there is an ulterior motive, then the praise loses appeal. But if there is not apparent ulterior motive, then we warmly receive both flattery and flatterer.  People with low self-esteem focus narrowly on the literal meaning of compliments. People with high self-esteem attribute more abstract significance to compliments. People with low self- esteem needs more encouragement to feel the same in terms of a compliment than those with high self-esteem.  How we explain our own actions
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